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Re: a small clarification

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Mon Oct 25 1999 - 18:13:06 PDT

Dear Seshadri,

I have thought about this question for a long time.  
There are many who will say that unless you follow 
*exactly* the conception of God and religion *they* have 
in their mind, you are lost. I do not and cannot
hold such an opinion.

How can we limit in what form Sriman Narayana will
appear to other devotees, in their minds? 
If I may put an Alvar paasuram to use, Poykai Alvar 
says, "whatever form His devotee desires, He takes 
that form; with whatever name form His devotee 
addresses Him, He takes that name..." (thamar ugandtha 
thevvuruvam avvuruvam thaanE, thamar ugandha theppEr 
maRRappEr... -- mudhal thiruvandhaadi 44)

(I have heard this opinion held by great Sri Vaishnava
scholars as well). 

I interpret this very broadly. If one approaches God
in all sincerity, will a few mistakes in his conception
invalidate his worship? I doubt it. It is repeatedly
declared that the Lord is easily approachable (parivadhil
eesanaip paadi...).

So, while according to doctrine, supreme liberation may
not be assured, as it is if one surrenders to Sriman Narayana 
as conceived of by our scriptures, I cannot rule out the 
merciful Lord from granting liberation to whomever *He* 
sees fit.  After all, He is 'nirankusa-svatantran', isn't He?
In fact, I believe either a good birth or liberation itself
is assured for the first person.

The second person, if he has taken refuge with the Lord, 
is undoubtedly destined for liberation. This is a result of
the mysterious grace of the Lord, who is 'anAlocita-visesha-asesha-
loka-SaraNya' -- the Refuge of all, Who does not investigate
one's past history of sins, etc., if you surrender to Him.

If the Lord only saved virtuous people, of what use is His grace?

As to who is on the right track, if both people below are exactly
as you describe, it looks like they are both headed in the
right direction.

daasan,
Mani

Sri Seshadri asks:
> Which one of the two souls below is assured of liberation at the end of its 
> current life? Which one is on the right track?

> 1. A soul in its current life has done all the good and has been following, 
> throughout its current life, a theistic approach other than the Sri 
> Vaishnavism and has surrendered itself completely to the Lord ( apersonal 
> God) with atmost love towards HIM and strongly believes that his Lord is the 
> one who grants him liberation and has not heard of our Sriman Narayana who 
> alone can bestow this.

> 2. A soul which in its current life has commited sins throuhgout its life 
> and almost at the end of its current life, by a stroke of luck ( as opposed 
> to the one mentioned earlier, which was unlucky in this respect) has turned 
> towards SriVaishnavism and later leads the life of a prapanna for a short 
> duration (after the pancha samskaram).